Will my car insurance cover me abroad?
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UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021
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- Most domestic policies do not cover overseas rentals
- Third party rental insurance is available
- You can choose your coverage levels to save money
Protect yourself and your finances by insuring your rental car when you go overseas. Learn more about your coverage options so that you can get the right levels.
You can obtain insurance through several sources, including:
- the rental agency
- your own credit cards
- third-party providers
Your Domestic Insurance Company Probably Won’t Offer Coverage
There are a handful of companies who can protect your assets when you travel overseas, but they’re rare. Most companies only offer coverage in the United States, so you’ll need to invest in some type of supplemental plan.
However, the plan you purchase in Europe should extend to all countries that are part of the European Union.
This will make it easier for you to travel between countries and see more of the sights without worrying about being covered.
- Liability insurance for the rental vehicle
- Personal injury protection for yourself and any passengers
- Liability coverage to take care of other people and their property should you cause an accident
Your home insurance company might say that you’re covered, but there are often loopholes that you may not be aware of. One option is to visit the embassy web page for the country you’re visiting to find out what’s required of all visiting drivers.
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Take Advantage of Credit Card Coverage
Many credit cards now offer complimentary rental car insurance, but you need to know how to use these plans properly. Before you decide to go this route, here are a few things you should know:
- Coverage varies from one card to another, so you’ll want to read the fine print
- The rental must be booked and paid for with the card
- If you cause an accident by speeding or driving while intoxicated, then claims may be rejected
- The coverage is secondary, so any other active plan will have to pay out first
- If you have no other form of insurance, then you may have to cover the damages and file for reimbursement
When you know what to expect, you can get the coverage you need. If you have any questions about the plan, then call the company directly and ask for someone in that department.
Once you know you’re covered, you can confidently rent your car while turning down the supplemental coverage they may offer.
The Ins and Outs of European Rental Car Insurance
There are many similarities between European insurance and the plan you may have here at home. For instance, liability insurance covers the damage you may cause to items outside of the car, but it won’t actually repair the vehicle.
Here in the United States, we have collision insurance to repair damage to our own cars. Abroad, it’s called a collision damage waiver, or a CDW. Some rental car companies include this in the price while others charge extra.
The CDW will typically have a deductible of between $1,000 and $2,000 regardless of fault. This means that if someone else hits you on the road, you’re still going to pay the deductible.
If you want to avoid this, then sign up for the upgraded CDW. It may be called the any of the following:
- excess plan
The goal is still to lower the deductible to almost zero for a small daily charge.
You may also decide to invest in personal accident insurance for injury and death benefits. The entire bill for this coverage can start to add up, but you can always purchase from a third-party insurer ahead of time.
Many companies in the United States are now offering this service, and you can shop around for the best rates to save money.
Most insurance features focus on protecting other people and the rental car, but there’s another asset that deserves coverage.
With property and effects insurance, your personal property will be covered if it’s stolen out of the car or damaged due to an accident.
You may pay a few dollars more for this coverage, but the peace of mind is well worth it. If you’re shopping around for great third party rates before you go, be sure to add this protection to your list.
Tips for Easier Rentals Overseas
There are some things you can do to make your rental experience overseas more enjoyable and to minimize your risk of accidents. Before you head to the airport for your big trip, here are a few things you may want to take care of:
- Get the International Driving Permit – This permit only costs a few dollars, but it takes four to six weeks to acquire. It’s valid for up to a year, and you’ll carry it along with your domestic license. It has all of your pertinent information listed in other languages, so that can make it easier if you’re stopped by local authorities.
- Learn the Local Road Rules – Be prepared that you may have to drive a stick shift when you rent a car outside of the United States. You’ll also need to learn which countries drive on the left side of the road, where you’re more likely to encounter highly aggressive drivers, and how the fuel prices are where you’re visiting.
- Compare Rates – Third party insurance companies may be able to provide you with more attractive rates, so be sure to shop around in order to save.
Save money on your travels by looking for the best rates on rental car insurance. The right protection will ensure that you’re covered in the event of accidents, vandalism, and even theft.
You’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that unexpected events won’t ruin your vacation. Compare coverage options today and save as much as possible!